The financial community has been awash with talks over the future of the world’s economic affairs since the tumultuous events of 2008. The hot topic on everyone’s lips, ironically deals with how our future will be shaped.
We at LAB 58 were lucky enough to get a glimpse of what the future may be, through the lenses of some of the industry’s most compelling visionaries. As an overview we shall take you through the various events we have attended along with the dozens of people we have met over the past few months.
First up, Market Gravity, a growth and innovation consultancy firm, helping large corporates apply entrepreneurial approaches to their business models. We welcomed the opportunity to be invited to their rather informative and practical breakfast briefing on the ‘Future of banking’, which was hosted in their Waterloo office. The session highlighted the need for banks to call on more customer centric and transparent business models.
Retrospectively, regulatory constraints are eroding banking margins in areas where banks have historically been extremely profitable. The need to protect their core business (‘the client’) by adapting the services delivered to them has never before been so paramount.
One innovative start up worth noting that is riding the waves of this new concept by developing products/services that are transparent, fairly priced and above all, fast and reliable is TransferWise.
TransferWise is an online currency exchange service which matches people who want to buy currency with those who sell currency, undercutting the traditional money transferring service. In fact it was reported back in May that the company had closed their ‘series A’ round funding at around USD $6 million and was notably led by Peter Thiel, Valar Ventures.
Consumer demand for such a service is higher than ever before, bank customers are tired of feeling ripped off which is why we at LAB 58 believe that this will in part form the basis of any successful future banking business model.
Second on our list was our meeting with Hannah Blake at BBC Worldwide Labs (a program you should seriously consider if you happen to own a digital media start up). This programme focuses its attentions on establishing commercial partnerships between divisions across BBC Worldwide and start-ups operating within the fast evolving digital media sector. A refreshing discovery, one that had us enthralled with the prospect that an institution like the BBC works hard at finding new innovative ways to interact with and channel large amounts of content and data to it’s customers.
BBC Worldwide Labs also signed 3 commercials deals with starts ups in areas diverse as education (Kosu), food recipes (Foodity) and retail and video interaction (Wirewax) that brought interactive and digital lifting to 3 key divisions within the group.
Let us now take you back to when we first wrote about the Nike + fuel band in our Olympic themed article entitled ‘Ready Steady Innovate’. We discovered that there is so much more to this piece of technology than we first thought and we’ll explain why. Nike + accelerator (a 3 month mentoring program powered by Techstars) have been working on a programme which allows the user to earn reward points to motivate an individual’s activity. 10 start-ups have been working together with Nike’s tech specialities to develop new disruptive ideas and technologies within the area of sport, health and fitness.
But, what if Nike’s technology platform is officially recognised as the standard physical activity tracker, for all public/private organizations whose business pricing models are strongly correlated with the physical awareness or well being of us all?
Let’s look at the National Health System (NHS) for example, the future could see medical practitioners using Nike’s platform to consult or provide a service to patients with health related concerns, medical insurers may indeed benefit from the platform by awarding discounted premiums for less risky life insurance clients, EVEN possibly retailers of organic produce for example could use the platform as a marketing tool to offer promotions/discounts to individuals pertaining a specific health profile.
If we were to delve deeper, a whole spectrum of business opportunities and partnerships could open up to the leading sports equipment maker if the group was able to make such a leap. Big data is overwhelmingly on trend at the moment and LAB 58 likes how Nike is finding answers to questions few have even dared to ask.
The month of May saw London play host to the prestigious Global Corporate Venturing Symposium, which we had the privilege of attending. The annual event is already in its 3rd edition and consisted of two fun packed days of key note speeches from some of the most influential venture capitalists. We were privy to listen to riveting roundtable discussions and insightful breakout sessions.
3 highlighted keynote speeches:
1) Sir Martin Sorell – produced an impressive speech where he shared his views on a core component of WPP’s values, the constant search for middle class growth across the globe (Myanmar and Nigeria). He also echoed his involvement towards understanding faster and wider global digital approaches.
2) The 45th Vice President of the United States of America Mr. Al Gore – gave an exceptional speech of his time in political office as well as sharing his visions of what he believes to be the future within the green economy. Check out his latest book entitled ‘The Future’.
3) Dragon’s Den judging panellist Julie Meyers, Founder Ariadne Capital – captured the essence of the Symposium by giving a punchy yet radical speech on the manifestations of disruptive economies and how they influence disruptive trends in technologies. An awe inspiring performance and one that kept us engaged from beginning to end. Julie’s latest book entitled “Entrepreneur country” calls us all to jump on the train to Entrepreneur country whilst providing testimonial accounts of her experience with setting up the successful start-ups she’s helped launch.
In fact LAB 58 took its own express train to “Entrepreneur country” as we and a few close friends celebrated the success of Nollywood Week Paris, back in May. To refresh your memory Nollywood Week is the first ever French film festival dedicated to the Nigerian film industry and we were honoured to take on the role as ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ (EIR). From an economic perspective, the emergence of film and media production in any developed region is a great indicator of cultural and economic development. As the Nigerian middle class continues to grow it is undoubtedly to no surprise that the consumer demand for entertainment and media grows in correlation. So please stay tuned to read our first EIR testimony inside a start up film festival.
Of course our journey didn’t stop there as last month we joined Le Camping (a Parisian based accelerator) in London, whilst on their European tour. We were thrilled to catch up with the team again and we were invited to witness the intense pitching sessions of some of their brightest start-ups over at the Google Campus in the City.
With at least 55% of the programs participants successfully securing funding within the first three editions, it’s no wonder why several of the programmes starts ups have already enlightened the industry with key awards won at LeWeb (Best start up in 2012 & 2013) or the Europas earlier on this year.
As we open up a new chapter to what our future may hold, we urge you all to join us on our journey to the future of film/entertainment in an emerging market as we took an Entrepreneur in residence role at Nollywood Week Paris festival.